Johannesburg - Sprinters Arnu Fourie and Oscar Pistorius set the bar high on the opening day of the National Championships for the Physically Disabled, presented by SASAPD, as they duelled it out in an enthralling 100m sprint at the King's Park Athletics Stadium on Monday.
Fourie pipped Pistorius by 0.05 of a second over the 100m sprint in the evening's main event, but both men won their respective classifications in the 100m, with Fourie competing in the T44 category (single amputee) while Pistorius is in the T43 category (double amputee).
The race provided the climax for a great first day's athletics at the National Championships, with both men happy with their performance on a balmy Durban evening. The two will join forces Tuesday as the national 4x100m relay team has another crack at their world record - the same one they broke a few weeks ago at the Athletics meeting in Germiston.
Fourie edged the sprint in 11.22, just one-tenth of a second outside his SA record mark, while Pistorius's 11.27 was some way off his own SA record of 10.90.
Still Fourie was beaming after enjoying a run in the humid conditions.
"It's an awesome privilege to run against him every time, he's been number one in the world for a while now and he is such an icon in Paralympic sport.
"Every time you race against him you want to be at the top of your game, just to give yourself a bit of chance to get close to him. Obviously I'm overjoyed at the race I just ran," Fourie said afterwards.
"I came out well and felt good during the race. In the previous few years I was there and there about but he always won the race, so it's just good to get in there. There's still five months to go to the Paralympics, so I'm not going to get carried away by the race today, but I know there is a lot of work still to be done in the next few months."
Pistorius was just as happy, even though he was pipped at the post, especially as the 100 isn't his specialty and he hasn't been running the shorter distance for some time now.
"I haven't run a 100m race in nearly a year, so I'm happy. The 100 is not really my race, but I'm happy to come out here because it is a really well run event. I'm looking forward to the rest of the week, to the 200m tomorrow and the 400m on Wednesday, which is more my event," Pistorius explained.